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“Phantom of the Opera” will close on Broadway in early 2023, ending 35 years

After an unprecedented 35-year run, the New York production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” Broadway’s longest-running show, will end in early 2023, producers confirmed Friday.

The show’s final run will take place on February 18, 2023, producers Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group said in a press release.

“As a British producer who has been fortunate enough to have been producing in New York for over 40 consecutive years, it has been an unparalleled honor to have presented the longest-running musical in Broadway history, Andrew Lloyd Webber.'” Mackintosh said in a statement. “That this legendary show has thrilled New York for nearly 35 phenomenal years is pretty amazing to me.”

Since opening at the Majestic Theater on Jan. 26, 1988, Broadway’s “Phantom” has performed more than 13,500 times to 19.5 million people and grossed $1.3 billion, according to producers. It has won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Producers said the show has been the largest Broadway job creator on Broadway and in US theatrical history, employing approximately 6,500 people during its run.

Around the world, it has also been performed in front of an estimated 145 million people in 41 countries and in 17 languages, the producers said.

Although the Broadway iteration will close its doors, the show will continue elsewhere.

(L-R) John Riddle as “Raoul”, Ben Crawford as “The Phantom” and Emilie Kouatchou as “Christine” take the curtain on the 34th anniversary performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of The Opera” on Broadway at The Majestic Theater on January 26, 2022, in New York City.

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The novel “The Phantom of the Opera”, written by the French writer Gaston Laroux, was published in 1909. The character first appeared on the big screen in a 1925 silent film.

On his 25th anniversary on Broadway, Webber, the show’s composer, recalled to CBS News reading Laroux’s novel.

“I remember finding the book in New York, reading it one afternoon and thinking, ‘It’s not the same as I remember it,'” Webber told CBS News in 2013, saying “Boo” behind a chandelier. It’s actually a romance.”

When the show first premiered in New York in 1988, it had already been a hit for two years in London. Still, not all critics took it kindly. A New York Times reviewer called it “psychologically light”.

It has been an expensive musical to run, with elaborate sets and costumes, as well as a great cast and orchestra. Box office grosses have fluctuated since the show reopened after the pandemic, reaching more than $1 million a week but also falling to around $850,000. Last week, it hit $867,997, and the producers may have seen the writing on the wall.

“Phantom” tells the story of a deformed composer who frequents the Paris Opera and falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s splendid songs include “Masquerade”, “Angel of Music”, “All I Ask of You” and “The Music of the Night”.

Closing “Phantom” would mean “Chicago,” which began in 1996, would have the longest-running show crown. It is followed by “The Lion King”, which began to be presented in 1997.

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